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Information Lecture 2 – Evaluating Information Sources CSC 170 - Introduction to Computers and Their Applications.

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Presentation on theme: "Information Lecture 2 – Evaluating Information Sources CSC 170 - Introduction to Computers and Their Applications."— Presentation transcript:

1 Information Lecture 2 – Evaluating Information Sources CSC 170 - Introduction to Computers and Their Applications

2 Evaluating Information Is Not Always Easy Evaluating information is not always easy, especially when you find it on the Internet. –There is a lot of “garbage” available on the Internet with no one reviewing its content. –There is very little stopping anyone from publishing whatever they want on the Internet. –The rankings that search engines give to various sites reflect their popularity, but not always their accuracy. Source – Bob Baker (Pima Community College) Info Literacy 10. Evaluating Information Sources

3 Authority Authority deals with the ability of the author to speak knowledgably about the subject at head. Evaluating the authority of an author of a web page can be difficult unless you either the author or can research his/her background. It is easy to evaluate the authority of authors of more traditional sources (book, newspapers, magazines, journals, references sources such as traditional encyclopedias) because of editorial control.

4 Is It Authoritative? Articles appearing in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal or reputable reference or trade publisher can generally be used as a scholarly resource. –Ulrich’s web tells whether a journal is peer reviewed Corporate, educational or government web sites do not have author names, but generally will provide trustworthy information.

5 Evaluating the Author In many cases, you can locate the name of the author on a web page and it may lead you to information about the author, such as educational credentials. In other cases, you can look elsewhere to find out about the author, such as a library database, which may list his/her publications.

6 Is the Web Site Authoritative? Examining the domain name: –Web sites whose URL (web address) ends indicates an educational institution and increase the chance that the information is reliable.

7 Timeliness (or Currency) Writing on a current topic requires current information. Materials in traditional sources (books and periodicals) are typically 6 months to a year older than the copyright date indicates because of the review process. Articles in periodicals will be more current than books.

8 Timeliness on the Web It’s often difficult to determine the age of information on a web page. –Although sometimes the page will include a date of last revision, this may reflect a redesign of the web page and not a change in its content. Just because information is on the Web doesn’t mean that it’s up to date.

9 Bias When you using information that you find on the web, you need to discern if there is a bias on the part of the site owners. –Domain names ending indicate corporate sites are trying to encourage to buy their products. –Non-profit organizations whose domain names end in may be trying to solicit a contribution.

10 Do They Have An “Axe to Grind” Business seeking customers and charities seeking donations are not the only sites trying to present a point of view. There are many web sites that are political and are trying to advance a political point of view. There are facts and there are opinions based on these facts. Certain key words may indicate that this is an opinion.

11 How To Spot Bias Spotting this bias may not always be easy – it helps to start with a current issues reference site, such as CQ Press Researcher. (

12 Accuracy Accuracy can be determined based on the sources used and cited by the author. Look through an author’s bibliography: are these published in reputable journals? If there are links to other web sites, look at these other web sites. Are they credible? Google’s advanced search has page-specific tools that can show if there are similar pages that are credible.

13 CRAAP Test The CRAAP provides an easy-to-remember mnemonic and a set of easy tests when evaluating materials. Source – Gettysburg College Library Web Site

14 CRAAP Test Currency - The timeliness of the information. Relevance/Coverage -The depth and importance of the information. Authority - The source of the information. Accuracy - The reliability of the information. Purpose/Objectivity - The possible bias present in the information.

15 Currency When was the information posted or updated? Does the page have links that are no longer functional? Outdated: Current:

16 Relevance What is the depth of the information? Who is the intended audience? Is better information available in another source? Questionable depth: – –,08805,10104500.html

17 Authority Can you tell who wrote it? Whose website is it? Is the owner reputable? Does the author have credentials? Less reputable – – More reputable –

18 Accuracy Are there citations to the sources of the information? Are these sources reputable? Are there spelling, grammar, or typographical errors? Inaccurate sites: cal/cat/feline-nov2001.html

19 Purpose Why was this page put on the web? Can you determine possible bias? Can you find possible conflict of interest? Possible bias: – – –

20 Wikipedia? Gray Zone –breadth of information, timeliness, easy access, and largely voluntary authorship. –Best at non-controversial topics with many contributors –Worst at so controversial that updates are locked OR single authors Good use: first stop; find sources Another good start: CQ Researcher Campbell, Scott. "Writing Advice, Citations, Plagiarism (Prof. Campbell)." U-M Personal World Wide Web Server. University of Michigan, 21 Nov. 2011. Web. 18 Mar. 2012..http://www-

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